Karl on Cars

Let's Talk Cars, Motorcycles and Other Life-Changing Events

Category: Ford GT40

The Ford GT40 Stars In Its Own Show (and I co-star…sort of)

In June of 2004 I went to a small studio in West Los Angeles to be interviewed for a series called “Behind the Headlights.” This series of documentary programs, written by noted automotive journalist and historian Ken Gross, focused each episode on one highly significant automobile from history. Examples included James Dean’s Porsche 550 Spyder, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR from the 1955 Le Mans crash, and the 1961 Lincoln Continental, also known as the X-100, that carried JFK on that fateful day in Dallas.

The Behind the Headlights episode I contributed to focused on the 1967 Ford GT40 Mark IV that won Le Mans in 1967. While that specific GT40 was the star of the show, the 45-minute documentary discussed the entire Ford GT40 race program, from the attempt to buy Ferrari in 1963, through the 1969 Le Mans win and even the 2005-2006 Ford GT revival. I’m probably biased, but I consider it the most effective and entertaining telling of the Ford GT40 story (and I’ve seen them all).

Karl Brauer on Behind the Headlights

I played a tiny role in a highly-entertaining Ford GT40 show

Being a part of this show, shortly after learning I’d be getting a new 2005 Ford GT but about a year before I took possession, was incredibly rewarding. Not only was I thrilled to discuss the original Ford GT40, I also felt honored (and a bit out of place) to be among the legendary individuals that appeared in this episode of Behind the Headlights. I’m convinced when people watch this episode they ask the same question Bill Ford Jr. asked when looking at the list of 2005 Ford GT applicants: “Who is Karl Brauer?”

A New 2005 Ford GT is in Development

Ford GT40 Concept Clay Design Front

Ford GT40 clay design work-in-progress (Photo courtesy Ford Motor Company)

Once I knew Ford was producing a new Ford GT (in March of 2002) I followed the car’s progress very closely. I’d already let my Ford contacts know I wanted a GT, but there was no guarantee I’d have any better shot at one than the thousands of other car fanatics chomping at the bit. Actually, despite the car’s stunning looks and unique mid-engine V8 design I was surprised how many people didn’t know the Ford GT was coming. But that would change soon…

Ford GT40 Concept Design Review

Ford GT40 concept design review (Photo courtesy Ford Motor Company)

In the meantime I kept in close contact with my friends at Ford, listening for any updates on development progress. I even flew to the Ford GT’s development center in Dearborn and interviewed several members of the design team. Here is the original text from an August 21st, 2003 story:

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Awesome Ford GT40 Concept Debuts…Now What?

Ford GT40 Concept Car

Ford GT40 Concept Car in Gulf livery. (Photo courtesy Ford Motor Company)

When Ford debuted its GT40 concept at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2002 it completely stole the show. Nobody knew it was coming, and nobody (including yours truly) thought Ford would actually build a production version. It was less than 6 months after the September 11th attacks. A new level of uncertainty had gripped the nation. Car companies didn’t know what the economic fallout would be. GM’s “Keep America Rolling” campaign started a few weeks after the attack, with major price cuts that actually kept Americans visiting dealer showrooms versus locking up their bank accounts. Most automakers joined the effort, the government instituted several automotive tax incentives, and 2001 ended up being a healthy year for new car sales. But could Ford, a company that was already struggling financially in the early 2000s, really afford to build a single-minded, low-volume sports car?

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I Get to Buy a New Ford GT!

Ford GT Allocation Letter

New Ford GT Allocation Letter

It seems fitting to launch this site with a post about receiving an allocation for a new Ford GT. Ford has only committed to to building approximately 1000 of these unique vehicles over a 4-year production run, with only around 750 available in the U.S. Getting approved was not easy, but I had an 11-year/27,000-mile history of being an original 2005 Ford GT owner helping my case for a new Ford GT allocation.

This site will describe my ownership history with my 2005 Ford GT, which really began in January 2002. It will also chronicle my experience of ordering, receiving, owning (…and paying for…) a new Ford GT. I have over a thousand photos and over 100 ownership blog posts from the last 11 years, plus quite a few videos documenting everything I’ve seen and done since Ford unveiled its yellow GT40 concept car at the 2002 Detroit Auto Show. I’ll be posting all of them here over the next few months while also reporting on my impending purchase of a new Ford GT.

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